Pim Techamuanvivit, former Iron Chef America judge and creator of the blog chezpim.com, is a huge fan of the "Early Girl" tomato, especially when it's dry-farmed so that the roots have to dig deep for any available water. The plant drops the fruit it can't nurture, and what stays on the vine becomes more flavorful. "It's an intense tomato experience," Pim says. It's her favorite tomato for this sauce, which you can use on pasta, homemade pizza, or spoon it--cold out of the fridge--onto a slice of toasted crusty bread.
About 2 lbs. Early Girl tomatoes
About 1/4 cup olive oil
1 to 2 garlic cloves (optional), peeled and minced
2 teaspoons balsamic or sherry vinegar (optional)
Red chile flakes (optional)
Handful of basil leaves (optional)
How to Make It
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cut a cross on bottom of each tomato. Remove pot from heat, plunge tomatoes in water, and let sit for 1 to 2 minutes, until skins loosen at cross mark. Spoon tomatoes into a colander and rinse with cold water.
Skin and stem tomatoes; if really juicy, squeeze out some juice into sink. Crush pulp with your hands into a bowl, breaking it up into small chunks.
Pour oil into a large frying pan and heat over medium heat. Add garlic if using, tomato pulp, and a big pinch of salt. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, until pulp breaks down and releases juices. Using a slotted spoon, put pulp back in bowl, leaving juice in pan.
Simmer juice until thick enough to leave a mark when you scrape bottom of pan, 2 to 3 minutes. Check seasoning. If your tomatoes are not very tasty, add vinegar and a bit more salt, and chile flakes if you want a kick. Stir pulp and basil into sauce.